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Researcher accused of lying about ties to Chinese military

Researcher accused of lying about ties to Chinese military

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — A Chinese researcher accused of lying about her ties to the Chinese military to gain access to a lab at the University of California, Davis has been released on bail. But, federal officials are trying to return her to custody as a flight risk.

Dr. Juan Tang was released from jail late Thursday after an attorney put up $750,000 in his home equity as bail. Tang, a cancer researcher, was arrested by the FBI in July after spending nearly a month at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.

The lawyer who put up his house for bail was identified this week as Steven Cui, a civil attorney from the Bay Area who had never met or spoken to Tang before. Cui, an immigrant from China, said he wanted to offer help to show that the U.S. justice system works fairly, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Tang was ordered to spend 14 days in quarantine at Cui's house as a precaution against the coronavirus by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman. She was told not to leave the home after that without the permission of pretrial service officials.

She was also ordered to “only consult with officials of the People’s Republic of China at the consulate only in the presence of counsel via telephone or video-conference."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Heiko Coppola filed a motion asking another judge to overturn Newman’s orders and return Tang to jail, arguing that she has no reason to stay in the country once released.

“Because there is no relationship between the parties, Tang loses absolutely nothing of value to her if she flees the United States,” he wrote. “Mr. Cui and his family assume all of the risk for Tang’s flight. Moreover, because the United States has no extradition treaty with the People’s Republic of China, should Tang flee, it is unlikely that she will ever return.”

Tang’s attorneys, Malcolm Segal and Tom Johnson, have argued that she is a respected scientist who would not choose the life of an international fugitive in order to escape the possibility of a prison sentence as low as six months.

Her lawyers also say that any photos of her wearing Chinese military uniforms are from her days attending military school.

But the U.S. government says that FBI agents found ample evidence that she has ties to the People’s Liberation Army-Air Force and China's communist party and lied about those ties on her visa application.

“During a later review of the electronic media evidence seized from Tang’s residence, agents discovered a myriad of different photographs of Tang wearing a military uniform,” Coppola wrote. “Agents also found a video depicting a presentation conducted by Tang in which she is wearing what appears to be the PLAAF military uniform found in their open source search, and she begins the presentation with a salute.

“The video presentation was recorded within days of Tang’s entrance into the United States on the J-1 visa.”

For copyright information, check with the distributor of this item, The Sacramento Bee.

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